With a huff, I landed right on my ass, suitcase on top of me.
Sighing, I took in my surroundings.
The beach was empty.
There seemed to be some shops open a little way from the beach, but I could see very little movement.
I had to wonder what my bestie from high school had gotten me into with this job, not that I would complain; I didn't have that luxury.
My parents had cut me off from the family money and I had needed a job as well as a change of scenery, the slump of N.Y.C had been a bit much for me lately.
I was grateful to Beth for helping, even though being a full time nanny had never exactly been a dream job.
Getting to my feet, I took my heels off and made my way up the bank and onto the road, heading towards the first shop I could see, there was a sign above the door which read "Janie's Superstore".
I scoffed, judging by the peeling paint, there was hardly anything super near it.
Standing, shoeless with my suitcase next to me on front of the store, I pulled my phone from my bag so I could call Beth, but of course, the battery was flat.
Letting out an aggravated breath of air I returned the phone to my bag and stepped into the store.
The woman behind the counter must have been in her mid forties, she was extremely pretty with eyes that almost looked yellow.
She smiled sweetly at me, "Well, I haven't seen you around. Are you new?"
"Yes, I'm actually looking for someone. Beth Alarick."
The older woman's brow perked up, "Riven Alarick's daughter?"
I had almost forgotten that Beth had moved in with her father, Riven when she had fallen pregnant with her daughter Lowe.
"Yes, that's right, Mr. Alararick's daughter."
"Did I hear my name?"
I turned to see a man walking towards me from one of the isles.
I frowned, this couldn't be Mr. Alarick.
This man towered over me, and was built like a house, his tight white shirt hiding none of his impressive muscles.
Wait, was I seriously standing here drooling over my friends father?
He smiled and when our eyes met I experienced the strangest feeling, almost like a pull towards him. He had a strange almost purple eyes.
The older woman cleared her throat, and I forced myself to focus.
"Mr. Alarick. I'm, um, Harley. Beth's friend."
He laughed, "I remember you. She wanted to be here when you arrived but she is otherwise occupied at the moment. Let me get you home," he turned to the woman behind the counter, "Jane, I will see you at the meeting tonight."
She glanced between the two of us, "But, Riven-"
I followed him from the store, wondering if he was perhaps Jane's boss, his tone sure indicated it.
"Harley, what on earth brings you here, babysitting of all things?"
"Oh, um, my parents kind of cut me off. Beth offered to help until I'm sorted, she wanted to give you more time for your business too."
"My business. Right. If you don't mind me asking, why did they cut you off?"
I chuckled, "Well, I kind of messed up a really big business deal they had going... because I wouldn't marry the guy that cheated on me."
He frowned as we began walking on the beach, "That seems a little harsh, I don't remember Natasha and Phil being like that."
I shrugged, "What can I say, mr. Alarick, they put on a good show. You're a billionaire so you know how important business is."
"Never more important than family. And please, call me Riven."
The butterflies which erupted in my stomach were definitely inappropriate.
Why was I acting like this, I had never in my whole life had any interest in older men.
We reached a beautiful beach house, but rather low scale for someone with as much money as Riven.
"Lowe! Come meet Harley!" He called as we walked into the house.
Within seconds the seven year old little girl came running from a passage.
"Hi! Oh, wow," she turned to Riven, "Papo, she looks just like the queen from your stories!"
Riven scratched the nape of his neck awkwardly, "Pup, go get ready for a swim."
She turned to me, "Will you come with us?"
Riven gently pushed her in the direction of the passage, "Go get ready, Lowe," he turned to me, "Shall I show you to your room?"
I nodded and followed him down the passage to the last door and stepped inside.
It was beautiful with a double bed covered in an ocean blue comforter, the walls were a matching blue with white, to the side stood a tall wardrobe.
"You can change it however you want."
"No, no, its beautiful!"
"I'll leave you to get changed for the beach, we will be on the dock out front." he closed the door behind him and I dumped the contents of my bag out onto the bed.
Grabbing a simple red bikini I quickly changed and threw on a pair of denim shorts before walking out.
I suddenly felt extremely self conscious as I walked towards the dock.
Riven watched me closely as I approached, Lowe swimming next to the wooden dock.
Riven turned back to the ocean as I reached him, "I'll show you around the town tomorrow after we drop Lowe off at school."
I frowned, "We? I don't think Beth is paying me just to have you continue doing everything."
"It's a good thing that I'm the one paying you then," he turned to smile at me, "When Beth moved down here she was alone, I came down here to help her out and once Lowe was born, I couldn't imagine my life without her, so i bought the island."
"You own this whole town?"
"Yes I do. Tomorrow I'll show you everything but the forest."
I frowned, "What's wrong with the forest?"
"Um, wild animals. Wolves. Not safe at all."
We both turned at Beth's voice as she ran towards us.
"It's great to see you again, Bethy." I said as we hugged.
"It's been ages! You look great."
"Thank you, so do you."
Lowe waved at her mother from her spot in the water.
Beth smiled between Riven and I, "I hope dad isnt making your day unbearable already!"
Riven rolled his eyes dramatically, "As if. I've even offered to give Harley a tour of the town tomorrow while Lowe is at school."
Beth's face suddenly changed slightly and I couldn't figure out the silent message she was sending Riven, "Dad, I'm sure Harley would have a better time with Jesse as a tour guide."
Riven narrowed his eyes at Beth, "No. I've already offered."
I cleared my throat, "Um, whichever way I dont mind."
Beth turned to me with a smile in her face, "Jesse is absolutely amazing, plus he's young and hot."
I could swear I heard Riven growl, that was probably my imagination though.
Lowe climbed up onto the dock, "Mom, doesn't Harley look just like the queen in Papo's story? The one about the forest wolves."
Beth raised a brow at her father, "Dad, we agreed not to fill her head with those silly stories."
I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the atmosphere between these two, "Uh, would it be fine if I took a short nap? I'm exhausted from the trip."
Beth nodded, "Oh of course! I'll wake you before we leave tonight."
"You're both leaving tonight?"
"Yeah, dad prefers to hold his town council meetings at night."
I nodded before walking away, there was something odd going on, but I couldn't be sure of what.
"Dad, I can already see that look in your eye! I am asking you as a daughter and as a Beta."
"Beth, don't try that bullshit with me."
"She doesn't deserve to be thrown into this!"
I frowned as I opened my eyes.
Beth and Riven were arguing a bit too loudly and had woken me up.
What the hell is a beta?
Rubbing my eyes, I got out of the bed just as there was a soft knock on the door.
"I'm up, come in."
Beth opened the door with a rather fake smile on her face, "Oh, how long were you up?"
"Just woke up. Are you guys heading out?"
"Yes. Lowe knows to behave for you."
I nodded and followed her out of the room and into the living room.
I glanced around the room, hoping to avert my attention from Riven who was dressed in black pants and a black button up shirt.
Let's just say, black was definitely his colour.
He smiled at me before they left and I huffed as I took a seat on the sofa next to Lowe.
She glanced at me, "Do you want to follow them?"
I frowned, "What? No!" The truth was that I very much wanted to follow them, but I had to babysit Lowe.
She shrugged, "I always follow them when they go to their meetings."
"That's... um... You shouldn't do that, Lowe."
"How often do they have these meetings?"
Lowe shrugged, "Like every week. I know all the goss."
"Gossip. Keep up. So, Papo is in charge. Mom is like second, she's bad-ass-"
She shot me a look before continuing, "Then theres Jane, she is convinced that Papo will make her is queen," she rolled her eyes, "As if. Jesse is like third in charge I think, he is so desperate to find his mate, poor guy."
"Lowe, you're way ahead of your age."
She shrugged, "I've been watching them for a year now. But they don't know that I know, so don't tell them please."
"My lips are sealed," I leaned over to get the remote, "What are we watching?"
"Let's go sit outside?"
We sat on the sand and played silly games until she was tired and ready to have a bath and get into bed.
As much as I had wanted to wait up for Beth and Riven, my eyes had closed the moment I laid down.